The Daily News of Open Water Swimming conducted an online poll on what people think about while open water swimming (both in training and in competition).
Swimmers reported the following activities:
* “I do think non-stop about my catch, pull through and back end finish every stroke.”
* “I think about my stroke — one at a time, in the moment I’m taking it, until I’m finished. My stroke thoughts are primary, conscious and explicit. Anything else that passes through my consciousness is momentary and mostly implicit.
* “When I swim I think about everything, except pray.”
* “I sing my favourite songs.”
* “I recite some poems I know by heart.”
* “I fantasize about competition, winning for example, or I imagine I’m swimming the English Channel and am about to arrive in France soon.”
* “I count my strokes in a foreign language (Spanish or Chinese).”
* “Sometimes I think about family or friends or everyday issues that cross my mind.”
* “When I am swimming in competition (triathlon), I usually only think about the race, checking the position of my competitors, trying to stay on course and keeping up the pace.”
* “I also think about the landscape around me, as usually I swim in freshwater, and how lucky I am to be out there swimming.”
* “Not drowning.”
* “I think about the event, my life, hope I don’t have any animal contact, worry about running into jellies and other things, think about my dad, winder if i’ll ever get faster.”
* “I think about keeping up with my friends, I think about how I think I am enjoying myself after I actually forget about the shark.”
* “Just enjoying the experience, taking in the feel of the water, how my muscles feel, the taste of the salt, the sun on the water. Of course, there are those times when O have a horrible pop song stuck in my head that gets played over and over again!”
* “I think and picture all my friends and family waiting for me and cheering for me on the shore.”
Illustration above is from Caitlin Davies‘ book, Downstream: a history and celebration of swimming the River Thames, an illustrated book about the history of swimming in the River Thames. Published by the University of Essex, the book describes races in the Thames during Victorian times (1837-1901) and training in the Thames by English Channel swimmers during the 1920s.
Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association